Published: 13th February 2018
If you're in Bhubaneshwar, then you have a date with the movies this Valentine's Day
The ninth Indian Film Festival of Bhubaneswar will begin on February 14 and checks all the boxes of an ideal film festival — diverse, definitive and desi
While most of us are trying to find a date for Valentine's Day, cinema lovers in Bhubaneshwar have a date with the movies, thanks to the ninth edition of the Indian Film Festival of Bhubaneswar (IFFB) on February 14. Over seven days, the festival organised by the Film Society of Bhubaneswar (FSB) pledges to showcase the finest Indian contemporary cinema there is to date.
The mascot of Indian Film Festival of Bhubaneswar is Navagunjara, which is a symbol of plurality and is apt to describe the composite art of cinema
Several films that have been through the circuit of national and international film festivals, are now making a pitstop at Idcol Auditorium, Ashok Nagar in Bhubaneswar — the venue for IFFB. The Malayalam film Munroe Island, about troubled and isolated men in a perfect house, the Bodo film Song of the Horned Owl, which sheds light on the problem of a common man during insurgency and counterinsurgency, the Punjabi film Chauthi Koot, which recounts the post-Operation Blue era, and of course, films by Odia filmmakers like Amartya Bhattacharyya's Capital I, Sabyasachi Mohapatra's Sala Budha and many more are the kinds of films toy can expect to catch. "The movies have been hand-picked carefully to showcase what contemporary cinema looks like right now," says Satyajit Puhan, one of the founding members of the Film Society of Bhubaneshwar, the society that has been organising the festival since its inception.
Watch out: The official poster of Indian Film Festival of Bhubaneswar
There is also a special retrospective of Malayalam filmmaker, G Aravindan, who has given us masterpieces like Thampu, Uttarayanam and more, which is something people will definitely look forward to, says Puhan, who is also a scholar of health economics and philosophy. Aside from these, people attending can look forward to various panel discussions and masterclasses.
Noted Kannada filmmaker Girish Kasaravalli is the chief guest for the festival. The passes are available at Actor's Studio (Niladri Vihar), Bocca Cafe (Master Canteen) and Bob and Harry's (Shastri Nagar)
Draw of the screen
In an interesting conversation with Sivapada Swain, the convenor of the ninth edition of IFFB, he told us how in spite of the invasion of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other such online streaming platforms, the lure of watching a film play out on the big screen will keep drawing audiences to theatres. Just like the great maestros of music will always perform to a full-house despite the fact that their work is available for everyone to see (and hear) online, films draw the same attention too, believes Swain, who has a deep interest in Russian, American and, of course, Odia literature. "Festival screenings offer a simultaneous feeling of both anonymity and intimacy," he poignantly says, adding that "the pre and post discussions that happen here at a grand scale are not possible in a drawing room." Focusing on films made by Indian directors alone, this festival aims to showcase Marathi, Malayalam and other language films which otherwise remain inaccessible on the big screen. And because documentary films are taking over the discourse in a big way, Swain tells us that a dedicated documentary film festival might not be such a bad idea, "After all, films are a very powerful medium."
The workshop 'Seeing sounds, hearing images' will be conducted by Babu Eshwar Prasad on February 15 which is being organised in association with UTSHA Foundation
Lady of the Lake
The line between fact and fiction start to blur in Haobam Paban Kumar's Manipuri film Lady of the Lake, when Tamo, the protagonist, finds a gun and starts to see a mysterious lady at the lake. Kumar has already given us acclaimed documentaries like AFSPA, 1958; Mr India and many more. And in the Lady of the Lake, he shines a light on phumdi, a floating biomass on Lake Loktak in Manipur, which has been the bone of contention between the government and the residents. The film gained a special mention at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and has done the rounds at film festivals in Busan, Berlin and our very own Mumbai.
Looking out: A still from the movie Lady of the Lake
Kumar likes using different treatments for films, which allows him to "play around cinematically," he says. He was looking for different narratives to present the story and settled on this one. Loosely based on the short story Nongmei written by Sudhir Naoroibam, the movie plays out over 82 minutes. And though this is a documentary, for Kumar, "a film is a film; a communication device."
"Cinema is a tool of communication for me through which a dialogue can be started," says the director, whose subjects are inspired by the ongoings of the present.
His next is titled Joseph's Son, which is a feature-length film based on caste, religion and ethnic divide that affects the people of the northeast and because of which, "I have been affected as a person too," he concludes.
The Violin Player
According to Bauddhayan Mukherji aka Buddy, a prerequisite for an Ad filmmaker while transitioning into a director is to know where to expend energy and where not to waste it and learn to do only what is required for the story. Basically, "make a film without flab," says Mukherji, whose film The Violin Player will be shown at the festival. Boasting of a star cast, which has the acclaimed Adil Hussain (think English Vinglish) and Ritwick Chakraborty, the story is about a struggling violinist and a failed filmmaker and what ensues after a chance encounter at a railway station.
Completely absorbed: A still from The Violin Player
And from the trailer, what stays with us, apart from the desperation of the main characters, is that encounter at the station. When we ask Mukherji about the anatomy of that scene, he says, "Both of them are strangers to each other, so what guided me was that strange amount of measured behaviour we display when we interact with strangers. But apart from that, what I have learnt is that the interpretation is yours. As a filmmaker I don't sermonise it."
What Mukherji loves about film festivals is the chance of interacting with the audience which, "neither Netflix nor Amazon Prime can give you," though he remains grateful for their digital release on Netflix.
For more information, check out their Facebook page facebook.com/IndianFilmFestivalBhubaneswar.FSB/